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Sources: Ohio State's Barnes top target for Memphis defensive coordinator job

Sources tell FootballScoop deal could be complete shortly after Buckeyes' Rose Bowl game opposite Utah

Ohio State’s defensive revamp is going to continue after the Buckeyes’ appearance this evening in the Rose Bowl.

Multiple sources tell FootballScoop that Matt Barnes is preparing to leave Ohio State and Ryan Day’s staff after the game for the top defensive position on Ryan Silverfield’s University of Memphis staff, barring any last-minute snags in the deal.

Silverfield has been seeking a new defensive coordinator since previous play-caller Mike MacIntyre accepted the Florida International University head coaching job last month.

In Barnes, the Tigers are poised to add a coach with experience in multiple Power 5 conferences who also has coached on the offensive side, having initiated his career working with running backs and quarterbacks at Delaware Valley and West Virginia Wesley, respectively.

Barnes has worked at a trio of Big Ten schools, getting his first on-field Football Bowls Subdivision job at Maryland as the Terps’ special teams coordinator and also adding linebackers coach responsibilities from 2016-2018.

After his three seasons in College Park, Maryland, Barnes was snagged up by Day for his first Ohio State staff. Barnes has spent all three seasons as the Buckeyes’ special teams coordinator.

Additionally Barnes, a Salisbury graduate, has worked with the Ohio State secondary all three seasons – spending the past two years in charge of the Buckeyes’ safeties. 

When Day shifted defensive play-calling duties this season away from Kerry Coombs, it was Barnes who stepped in to fill the void and handle the gameday play-calling for the Buckeyes.